Bill Clinton's "victim" delusion – UPDATED

Bill Clinton's "victim" delusion – UPDATED January 5, 2008

This report left me speechless:

Bill Clinton voiced his abiding anger at the media’s coverage of him and his wife in Durham, N.H., today, and suggested that media bias will force Clinton to go negative on Barack Obama.
“I think we can change it as long as you have access to information by people who are committed to judging everybody by the same set of rules and following the same set of rules,” he said. “According to the most recent media analysis, that’s not what’s happened so far, but yeah, I think it should be done.”

[emphasis mine – admin]

The bad old unfair media is going to force Hillary to go negative against Obama? You mean there is more dirt beyond the Kindergarten essay and the — what was it, drug use that she wasn’t going to bring up because…oh, she got that out there…never mind.

And this “same set of rules” stuff…where to begin? All these years of watching Democrats being held to a different standard than Republicans (do you think a Republican’s party affiliation would be missing from this story) of seeing President Bush’s successes being held to a different standard than President Clinton’s (when unemployment rises from 4.6% to 5% under Bush it’s a troubling matter; when it was 5.4% under Clinton, that was essentially full employment!) – and watching Hillary (no legs to this story) and Bill (“Poppy Bush likes us best“) being held to…well, pretty much NO standards at all (with incessant tonguebaths to boot) in comparison to almost anyone else on the planet, President Clinton has the audacity to suggest that the press is…ummm…not even-handed?

Are the Clinton’s just spectacularly out of touch? Are they seriously suggesting that they’ve got the media pulling them down from their noble climb?

There’s more!

Clinton also let his audience glimpse the scars of his White House years.

“Nobody would like it better than us if you could get that personal vilification out of there, because nobody’s been vilified more than we have,” he said, after noting that he thought Hillary and McCain could run a respectful campaign. “One of the problems with laying down and turning the other cheek is McCain had one dose of it. They gave it to us for eight years.

It would certainly be nice if we could “get that personal vilification out of there,” wouldn’t it?

President Bush has endured not just pundits and members of the press flinging invective (and questionable stories) all over the walls but the leadership of the “loyal opposition,” too. He has been assaulted with every sort of character assassination, and name-calling with nary a reporter or a “leading Democrat” (or a former president who should have spoken up) ever saying, “hey wait – that’s excessive, that’s inappropriate – disagree all you want but you don’t talk about the American President that way.”

If President Clinton is going to whine about the ugly habit of “vilification” which overwhelms politics today, perhaps he should have admonished the people who have been hyperventilating in out-of-control hate for the past 6.5 years once in a while – just once in a while – rather than keeping silent while his party (and some of his own loyalists) vilified and vilified and vilified.

I am not saying it’s a tit-for-tat world, or that it should be. I would love nothing better than to see some civility return to American politics. But all of this did not happen in a vacuum. The “scorched earth” policies and the “permanent campaigns” of the Clinton years did not go away once they left office. Since January 2001, if you turned on a political talk show you were very likely to see a former Clinton operative, either as as guest or host, talking down and minimizing anything to do with the current president, his economy, his challenges, his ideas, his concerns, his successes while continually talking up “the Clinton years.” In other words…the president who refused to get off the stage so his successor could begin his inaugural celebrations did not – as elder statesman and member of a very exclusive club – help make politics a better, more noble endeavor…and he could have, if he’d wanted to. He could have at least tried. Bush 41 did.

The Clintons helped create the tenor of these times, and now they deplore the tune? I’m not saying there are not folks on the right who get excessive – there are plenty – but the Democrats have been singing one long hate-chant for years, now, and the Clintons – as defacto King and Queen of the Party, never once suggested a pianissimo or rest note, much less a resting measure. And through it all, the press kept adoring. Now, the press dares to cut back on the fawning, and the Clintons start to whine.

Mr. President, there is no whining in politics. President Bush has taken unprecedented abuse for these years and hasn’t whined once. You and Mrs. Clinton whine all the time. It’s sad, that’s all.

Update: My Li’l Bro Thom adds, what I think is some interesting analysis:

“Going negative” is going to hurt her more than help — because nothing is less attractive than a nasty, angry woman. There. I said it. The “bitch” factor will come up. A man can get away with that. A woman can’t.

And particularly when the target is Obama. Whether she realizes it or not, she will be perceived, by implication, as a racist. Especially when Obama is managing to run what is, for the most part, an upstanding and honorable campaign.

I also think that the real target of all this isn’t Obama, but the press — Bill blabbing about this is a way of threatening the media. (“We’re going to beat up on your guy if you’re not nicer to Hillary.”)

Possibly. All I know is – as I said yesterday – Obama is giving Democrats permission to vote for someone besides Hillary. And, apparently – to roundly demonstrate that they wish to. (Ann Althouse agrees with that theory, so I’m in good company!)

Related: Hillary’s Temper Shows.
The Assassination Obsessives.

Jules Crittenden has amusing and insightful thoughts.

Ed Driscoll notes that once upon a time, Clinton friends buried the boos. No wonder this new reality (after 15 years of media help) has thrown the Clintons for a loop.

More at J’s Cafenette.

Joe Gandleman wonders, as I did a while back, whether Bill Clinton really wants Hillary to win, and has a great cartoon.

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